“Training Camp 6”
By Pastor Joe
"Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.” 1 Timothy 4:8-10. NLT I'm going to leave this verse at the top of the article. This has always been one of my favorite verses even before thinking about this new set of articles relating to training camp. I've had a number of great counselors and teachers, individuals who have helped me to grow my spiritual life, and all of them have said just about same thing about a very critical part of training: keep the Word of God before you on a regular basis. With repetition over the next number of weeks all of us should begin to embrace this passage into our long-term thinking. Just for fun, I thought you should know the Green and Gold is playing the team from upstate New York this week. Of course, the Purple and Gold, who your Pastor enjoys rooting for, are playing his third favorite team who divides their loyalty in town split by a river. (You’ll have to figure out who it is.) It's the third week of the pre-season, and very shortly all 32 teams will be making their final cuts. Each team must reduce its roster to the league maximum, which is 53 players. There are always one or two players on each team who “surprise” the coaching staff and end up being part of the final roster. Every player will not see action in every game, but they will be a necessary part if their team is to be successful. It's the same way in the Christian life: not everyone stands at the pulpit, not everyone is on the worship team, not everyone will be a Sunday school teacher, not everyone will be a youth leader. Nevertheless, every person who participates in “Kingdom building” at Hawthorne Assembly is part of the team. Whether you are the newest attender or you’ve been here for 40+ years, we need each and every individual to do their part. Just for a moment, let me digress back to the NFL, and explain a little more about the 53-man rosters for the Packers and the Vikings. Each team will have a practice squad. They’re not part of the official 53 team members, and their names will not appear anywhere on the program each Sunday or whenever they play a regular-season game. But these 10 players are part of the “team.” They are paid a smaller salary, and sometimes they only end up being part of the practice team for half or 3/4 of the season. If they perform well, they'll be on the practice squad for the whole season, which gives them a better chance of making the 53-man squad the next season. Even though these 10 players will never get a chance to suit up for the big game on Sunday, the rest of the team sees them as part of the team. They will never be on the sideline on Sunday afternoon, they'll never get their name called by the television or the radio announcer, yet they still see themselves as part of the team. As your pastor, I want you to know that I see every single one of you as part of the team, this church, this Assembly of God fellowship, this outreach center in northwest Wisconsin. We cannot be successful without multiple people joining together and seeing themselves as part of the bigger picture of what God is doing to reach the lost in our part of the world. Training is always a difficult time in the life of any growing organization, team, family and ultimately the family of God. We must learn to love each other, we must learn to be flexible with each other, we must learn to adapt to each other, we must learn how to forgive each other, and most of all we must learn how to work together as a team, knowing we are focused on lifting up the name of Jesus. The Word says in Romans 15:5-6, “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with others as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then, all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Together is Better!